Thursday, 18 June 2009

Gillespie dynasty

The Gillespie family dynasty at the Toronto Sun, spanning Day One to last week, has come to an end with the departure of Larry Gillespie.

Larry, with 34 years under his belt, took a buyout after IT was told there would be an involuntary layoff if someone didn't volunteer to take a package.

"So Larry volunteered," says Maryanna Lewyckyj, a former Sun vet/layoff casualty and Larry's better half.

Larry, who left the building June 9, got his well-attended sendoff, but no words in the Sun for his productive, three-plus decades at the tabloid. None that we could find.

"Dave Blizzard was at the sendoff and Trudy Eagan (who was in New Brunswick presenting a scholarship in memory of her brother Tom) sent a warm message to Larry wishing him well," says Maryanna.

"Other old Sun faces at the bash included Darlene Avery, Larry's sister Colleen Leblanc, Art Roach and his wife Lindy, Andy Balfour, Randy Miller and Calvin Reynolds.

"Several current employees also managed to make it to the sendoff."

Maryanna says "kudos to Tim Peckham for a brilliant front page and to Stephen Fraser for rounding up a great photo of Larry, who is notoriously camera shy. Gary Latham coordinated the sendoff, and Larry's sister helped spread the word."

She says Larry's departure marks the end of an era for the Gillespie clan. His brother, Chris, and sister, Colleen, got laid off on the same day. And the closure of the press room eliminated positions for his brothers Glenn and Paul (a Day Oner).

The Gillespies were legends in their own time at the Sun.

Maryanna says Larry's first job at the Sun was in the Sun Syndicate department. He later moved to information services (as it was then called).

"He worked through the era when editorial types associated CSI with monochrome monitors, not high-tech forensic technology. Computer filing freedom for reporters on the road first came from Radio Shack TRS-80 computers, the model T of journalism laptops.

"It's hard to believe now that we could have put out a paper with such primitive technology. But it was the content that made the underdog Sun such a success, not the technology."

Maryanna said Larry wanted his departure to be low key, but you can't keep a 34-year man 's exit and the end of the Gillespie dynasty out of TSF.

All the best to all of the Gillespies. You made a difference.


  1. What is it with you people? Someone retiring is not news for the masses. This is not another example of the evil overlords. Put it in the company newsletter, yes, but not the newspaper.

  2. Okay, I'll explain it: it is *not* in the newspaper. It is a long-standing tradition at many newspapers to use a front-page mockup as a going away or retirement gift.

  3. Anonymous June 18, what are you babbling about?
    Company newsletter? Newspaper? News for the masses?
    It was a made-up front page that is made up for staffers who leave.
    By the way, Anonymous June 18, Larry didn't retire.
    He took a buy out to prevent the layoff of the most junior person in IT. He saved someone's job, and to Larry, I thank you.

    Rob Lamberti
    Toronto Sun Unit
    CEP Local 87M

  4. I certainly would NOT refer to Mr Gillespie's leaving as retiring! He took one for the team after being told there would be 'involuntary' layoffs if no one volunteered to take a buyout - if that's not an example of the evil overlords I would like to know what is! The masses should know about his sacrifice after 34 years of service and he is deserving of our respect. Kudos to you Mr. Gillespie and I wish you and yours the very best in your future endeavors!
    PS I do not know Mr Gillespie but I am part of this world that we are all living in - for now.........

  5. >> but no words in the Sun for his productive, three-plus decades at the tabloid.

    Not hard to figure out that was a mock front, was hard to figure out why someone wanted his departure mentioned in the newspaper. That hard to understand?

  6. Larry, as the mighty Steve Miller once said..... "Take The Money and Run"